Success Stories

Have you recently adopted a VHS dog or cat? Let us know how things are going! Send your cutest, clearest photos and all those adorable details about life with your new best friend to Be sure to include your first and last name and your pet’s VHS name (if known).

Your stories and photos will show others that happiness and love may be found with a rescued animal, and encourage them to consider adopting their next pet. VHS may use the items you send in print or online, in The Scoop newsletter, program brochures, donor mailings, social media, or other materials. Items may be edited for length, content, and/or quality. Need some ideas to get started?

IMG_1201 Scoop Success cropChestnut

At four months old, Chestnut was still just a pup. He must have grown quite a bit in his short life, however…enough that his collar grew too tight and then embedded in his neck. He still had some healing to do when Valley Humane Society took him out of the public shelter. Fast forward six months later, and Chestnut has grown even more, thanks to the good care of his adoptive family, the Hottingers. They describe him as an incredibly agile and intelligent dog who is popular at the local dog park and is known to “bring the party.” Chestnut also brought new life to the family’s aging pit mix, Nika. “He has brought her out of her shell and put her in touch with her inner puppy,” writes Mom. Chestnut is now known as Theo, named for the Leave it to Beaver character…aptly so, according to the family, for he is full of curiosity and mischief. Good thing Dad is home to keep an eye on things!

Puffin MonopolyPuffin

Sometimes love saunters right up and takes over your life, whether you’re ready or not. That’s pretty much what happened to Paul Saliski. On his first day as Operations Coordinator for Valley Humane Society, Paul encountered Puffin, a “large and in charge” black and white feline. “She came up strutting her stuff,” says Paul. “What can I say? Love at first sight.” Two-year-old Puffin lost the only home she had ever known when her guardian had to move to an apartment that wouldn’t allow pets. Fortunately the outgoing tuxedo (who reportedly likes being held like a baby), had no reservations about canvassing for her next home. And what a great fit she found! “Puffin is right at home with the rest of the family,” says Paul. She joins a motley crew that includes Duncan, a dog; Nautica, a cat; and two horses named Miles and Henry Higgins. She may be the family’s first rescue cat, but Puffin always wins at Monopoly!


It’s hard to believe that Annie sat alone and unspoken for at the shelter, because once she came to Valley Humane Society, it sure didn’t take long for someone to speak up! The Johnson family fell in love with the gorgeous Golden and brought her forever home, where she is living up to the retriever part of her name. Annie brings the family their shoes, wallets, books…anything she knows they use frequently. And the spunky teenager is always quite proud of herself for doing so! Now about two years old, Annie loves watching birds through the window, snuggling, playing tugs, and of course, walks. Pictures of Annie on family outings show her picnicking at Concannon, “pointing” at a cat in the neighborhood, and standing on the sofa birdwatching. “We love her like crazy,” write the Johnson’s. They also have a great theory about how Annie, now called Bailey, became a stray: “She ran away to find us!” On the anniversary of her adoption the family celebrated Bailey Day. “We’re so happy to have her!”

Maddie 9-15-14 #6_squareMaddie

When Lauri walked into Valley Humane Society in September and asked to meet Maddie, ears perked up all over the place. The four-year-old tabby had been in residence for more than a year, and hadn’t drawn a lot of attention because of a grumpy reputation brought on by her distaste for other cats. Lately Maddie had been cohabiting an administrative office, where staff started each day subject to a marathon kneading/drooling session, and suffered frequent interruptions by a cat strategically placed between keyboard and typist. Maddie had regained her happy, lap-loving self, but she wasn’t particularly helpful as an assistant.

Still, she looked good on the desk! Lauri was looking for an office cat, someone to keep her company while she worked at home, to replace the quiet companionship of her recently departed Abby. Call it fate or call it luck, but there was clearly an instant attraction between the two. Lauri took Maddie home, and almost immediately reported: “[Maddie] has pretty much settled in and is a big part of our family. What a joy she is!” Pictures of Maddie on the desk at home prove contentment. “Thank you all for taking such good care of her until we found each other,” Lauri writes. “[Maddie] is a gem. But then they all are when you take the time to get to know them and allow them the space and time to get to know you.” We couldn’t have summed it up any better!

Ash cropjpgAsh

Ash was just one of a trio of achingly adorable terrier mix puppies until the Chang family fell in love and took him home. There the little black and white pup turned out to be a real smart cookie! He learned to roll over using tasty bacon as an incentive, and is learning to walk on his hind legs on cue (something he is already doing on his own). He also paces himself during evening runs with Mom. “It’s so sweet of him,” she writes, “because we all know he can actually run much faster!” In addition to keeping everyone healthy, Ash – now called Jet – is the perfect family companion. He’s as sought after as an afternoon snack for the family’s two children, who love to cuddle and play games with him when they get home from school. “To this day we feel fortunate and thankful that Valley Humane Society took Ash in and cared for him before we adopted him,” writes Mom, who plans to encourage pet adoption to her friends and family via Facebook. “We got a successful love match through VHS, and want to help others do the same.”

Ana Banana 2_cropAna

Ana decided early on that she wasn’t a big fan of the multi-cat environment at Valley Humane Society’s Kitty City. She spent a little time in the administrative office and several weeks in a kennel in the lobby, chatting up everyone who passed through. As Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, “One cat just leads to another.” He was probably talking about spay/neuter issues, but it’s also true that many people who love cats already have one or two hanging around. Ana’s continuing challenge was looking for a home where she’d be the main attraction.

Enter Susanna. She fell in love with Ana on her visit to VHS and took the tortie home. Now, “Ana Banana” has settled in to a life free of any other pesky felines. She still likes to be on display, though, choosing a large picture window to relax in front of. “Here she is watching birds and squirrels and looking just plain adorable,” Susanna writes. That was probably her plan all along!

Rusty squareRusty

To everything there is a season: it’s true for dogs as well as people. Sometimes all you need do is wait. When Rusty’s first adoption wasn’t as successful a match as it initially appeared, he quickly returned to our adoption center…along with the pang and rue that frequently sprout in such situations. But at eight years old (that’s nearly 50 human years!), Rusty was sage enough to recognize that it wouldn’t be long before he was picked again.

When the Pasqual family came to VHS looking for a canine companion, Rusty’s personality flowered. As soon as the door to his doggie condo opened, he went directly to them and rolled on his back, tail threshing. “It was as though he was waiting for us,” writes mom Cheryl. “He is a loving Corgi mix who loves playing ball and enjoys his yard. Thank you VHS!” Indeed, Rusty (now called Buster) loves to stop and smell the flowers – as you can see from this idyllic garden photo, his entry in our 2014 pet photo contest. There’s always time for that!

Stretchingout squareBiscotti & Holly

Last summer, the La Blanc family came to VHS looking for a kitten. Cat lovers and feline guardians for many years, they ended up being adopted by Biscotti and Holly (now called Hazel), two adorable sprites from different litters. “The ‘girls,’ as we affectionately call them,” mom Julie writes, “Have brought so much love and joy to our home. They are quite spoiled.” Though initially wary of each other, the pair became “the best of buddies” by Day Two.

Still, the experience was not without its casualties; namely, a houseplant. HazelcleansBiscotti SuccessAs this year’s kitten season goes into full swing, Julie offers great advice for those planning on bringing home a young animal of any kind: “Kitten-proof your home,” she cautions, “Just like you would for a child. Those sharp little kitten teeth need lots of appropriate toys to keep them occupied. We have learned to put cords away and play, play, play to wear them out.” Sounds like a cat’s idea of the perfect day!


Donner & Family Success StoriesDonner

December, 2012. Ten tiny “reindeer” pups pranced into VHS looking for love. Among them, soot-black Donner with the snowy white patch on his chest was the one who stood out the most to the Garcia family. They had a new house, and made a family decision to adopt a puppy who needed a home. Now, more than a year old, Donner has turned into one dashing dog. He enjoys daily walks, begs to play fetch with his green ball, and winning everyone over with his mischievous personality. “He came to a home full of love and affection,” writes his dad, Jesus. “It was love at first sight.” Now called Meeko, the once-miniature Lab mix weighs more than 80 pounds. Meeko and his puppy brother, Luz, enjoy lolling around the living room together during family movie time just as much as hiking in the fresh air with mom and dad.

Java home 3_editJava

Java had been percolating for a while in Kitty City when the Turner family came looking for a new feline companion during VHS’s Adults Only cat adoption promotion. After visiting with several KC residents, the Turners turned their attention to Java. That’s when her personality came bubbling out! The perky brown tabby with the milky chin captured the family’s playful spirit. Happily home, Java is generous with her kisses, is “super lovey,” and makes sure everyone gets a chance to let her sleep on their bed. “Thank you for bringing her into our lives,” they wrote, several days after taking Java home. “She’s a wonderful kitty and we love her so much!”

Bieber 4 cropBieber

Bieber wasn’t off to a very good start with his potential adopter. The tiny Chihuahua hadn’t even bothered to get up and greet her, dozing sleepily with eyelids drooping and tongue sticking out. “I don’t think so,” was the reply when Kris texted a photo of him to her boyfriend. Neither did she. Still, she returned the next day (despite injuring her knee that morning) to bring her two existing adoptive dogs–Finster a pug mix, and Mina, another Chi –for a meet-and-greet. The trio clicked, and Bieber found himself the coddled baby of a very loving family. Renamed Eddie, the timid, indifferent dog soon blossomed into an energetic, playful, fun-loving friend. Says mom Kris, “I thought I was bringing him home for his sake, but he’s given me so much.” She notes that it took being loved and showing love to create the beautiful pup she knows today. “I can’t imagine life without him!”

Ozzie Adoption Success pageOzzie

Just a little ball of fluff with oversized paws, Ozzie was one kitten who didn’t have to worry about losing his “mittens!” The long haired tabby was a polydactyl with more than the usual number of toes. Adopted during our 2012 Maddie’s Adoptathon, tiny Ozzie went home to live with two adult tabbies, Elliott and Olivia…and now he’s as big as they are! His extra toes still have him strutting around the house, but his ego isn’t as big as his feet. Ozzie is besties with Elliott and Olivia would do anything for him! “Ozzie is a huge addition to our family,” says his adopter. “We love him so much. Thanks again for the wonderful work you do.”

Rudy fireplace webRudy (dog)

Adrift on the streets, Rudy landed at Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont as a stray. Unfortunately, the public shelter was overflowing with animals. They sent out an SOS, and VHS responded. Soon, the one-year-old Border Collie mix was headed for safe waters. With his mismatched eyes and rusty spots, however, Rudy didn’t dock here long! In June he set sail with new adopters, the Scaruffi family. Now called SS Murphy Blue (the SS stands for “Short Stuff”), this salty pup is riding high. He captains a fleet of mutinous bunny rabbits and keeps his favorite peanut butter-filled bone closer than a lifejacket. His adopter reports, “He loves his squeaky toys and always brings one on the bed when he wakes me in the morning,” reports Mom Debra. This is one sea dog who knows how to keep his crew happy!

Rudy & Siamese sisterRudy (cat)

Rudy’s imperial bearing is evident in every picture the large orange and white feline appears in. From his noble adoption photo standing between his new guardian and her companion, to a regal portrait pose with his new fur-sister, Rudy’s royalty shines through. And he’s definitely become king of the castle in his new home! Rudy’s new guardian reports that he’s energetic and full of love for his older Siamese sister. “Thank you all so much for your hard work and for all the happiness you help bring to these animals and families every day,” she writes. “Rudy has been such a joy and a great addition to our family.” No doubt Rudy will reign in their hearts for many years to come!

KumaKuma drink_crop

With the face of a teddy bear and the body of a grizzly bear, 5-year-old Kuma was a study in contradictions. Fortunately the grinning Shepherd mix found himself an adopter who had no issues cuddling with a pup the size of a miniature horse. His first day home, Kuma went straight for a puddle of water in front of the house and plopped down like it was his own personal water trough. “We’re going to buy him a small, shallow pool to have fun in,” writes his new mom. Better watch out for those cannonballs!


Toulouse & BetaWEB

Toulouse and Beta aren’t anything alike. Toulouse is splashed with black and white like an abstract artist’s canvas, while Beta bears the more orderly tiger stripes of a brown tabby. Toulouse prefers to bury himself in blankets for a power nap, while Beta would much rather romp with visiting doggie friends. Fortunately, the two have the best possible thing in common: a family. After many trips to VHS looking for the perfect kitten, it turned out that for adopters Adam and Anjuli, there were two. So it was that Toulouse and Beta (now named Keeber) share love and laughter with a wonderful new family, including new sibling Gia, a German Shepherd who adores them. “They constantly keep us laughing,” says Anjuli. “They have both brought so much joy to everyone who meets them!”

Joe Joe_crop

Joe the kitten: proof positive that good things come in small packages. He was just a ball of grey fluff, with owl eyes as big as a barn, and shy to boot…yet Joe managed to steal the hearts of the Hashimoto family. “Bringing Joe into our home is one of the most joyful things we could have ever done,” they write.

Now called Heizo, Joe sleeps with them on the bed. He’s all grown up and is well-spoiled with love and attention, though he’s still a tad shy with strangers. His loves chasing a laser light while playing with the family’s daughter. “We are very happy to have him as family,” writes the Hashimoto family. “Thank you so much for letting us adopt him.”

GracieGracie, an adopted dog

In January, VHS rescued a vivacious Chihuahua mix whose hind leg was a dangling ruin. Found as a stray, perhaps hit by a car…who knows how long she wandered in pain? But it didn’t dampen her spirits a bit. Quick as a flash, we got her to a veterinarian, where the mangled mess was removed. Then we asked our Facebook friends to help us name the little dog, and Gracie kindled our imagination.

She didn’t bask long in the warmth of our affections, however…Gracie promptly got herself adopted by the Dunia family, whose hearts she melted. Though they renamed the little dog Sparkie, the Dunia family reports she could have been called Mini-Me because of her resemblance to their other dog, Carmichael. “She is a snuggle bug,” says dad Chris. “The first night my boys had with her we had to keep setting the timer so they could take turns holding her.” He also notes that Gracie doesn’t miss her amputated leg. No wonder…she has gained so much more!

TwizzlerTwizzler, a cat

Twizzler had enough siblings and cousins to fill a concession stand. The cats came to VHS as part of a bulk private surrender from a guardian who realized that her feline fascination had grown beyond her capacity to care for them. One by one, Dot, Skittle, Starburst, and the gang went home to sweeten the lives of new families. Yet long after his candy-coated siblings were gone, Twizzler, a handsome, affectionate, and lively orange tabby remained at VHS awaiting adoption.

Hanging near Twizzler’s kennel was a letter written by one of his foster guardians recommending him as a very nice cat. It was that letter which convinced the Nostrand family that Twizzler would be the perfect addition to their family. Being good with kids just sweetened the deal. Now called Buster Posey, Twizzler has fully adjusted to family life. “I know he was with you a long time,” says his new mom. “We are very grateful for the good care he received from VHS.”

Ideas to Get Started

  • Did you change your pet’s name?
  • What is the new name? How did you come up with it?
  • How does your pet interact with others in your household (people and pets)?
  • What does your pet like to do/play with?
  • Does your pet exhibit any quirky behavior or personality traits?
  • Where does your pet sleep?